According to an internal email, Twitter made the decision to censor the news about the Hunter Biden laptops in 2020 despite not having received any notification from the government & having a difficult time coming up with a reasonable rationale for its actions.
On Friday, the journalist Matt Taibbi revealed screenshots of the texts that were exchanged between high-ranking members of the team. Elon Musk, who just acquired ownership of the social networking site, gave his OK to the distribution.
The article that the New York Times broke on October 14, 2020, 3 weeks before the presidential election in the United States, was about data that were found in a computer that belongs to Hunter Biden. Hunter Biden was the son of Joe Biden, who was running for president at the time. The expose featured, among other things, emails that discussed the commercial operations that members of the Biden family had had in Ukraine.
The water-damaged computer had been brought into a repair shop in Delaware in 2019, but it was never picked up again after it had been left there.
Twitter at the time had banned the account of the New York Post & prohibited users from posting links to the article, citing the fact that it breached its rules against "hacked materials."
According to Taibbi, Twitter "took unprecedented measures to conceal" the news without the knowledge of the previous CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, whereas Vijaya Gadde, the former head of legal, policy & trust, played "a crucial part" in the process.
The writer said that a former worker had stated that "hacking was the explanation, but within just a few hrs, pretty much everyone recognized that wasn't going to stand," and that "no one had the courage to reverse it."
The White House has criticized the Republican Party for looking into "conspiracy theories" around Hunter Biden.
According to the internal communication that Taibbi revealed, it seems that top Twitter staff members had some reservations about the language that was used to justify the ban.
According to a screenshot, communications manager Trenton Kennedy emailed his coworkers the following: "I'm having difficulty comprehending the policy basis for marking [the computer story] as unsafe, and I believe that the best explainability argument for this externally would be that we're waiting to understand if this story is the result of hacked materials," Kennedy said. "I'm struggling to understand the policy basis for marking [the laptop story] as unsafe." It has been reported that Brandon Borrman, who had previously held the position of VP for global communications, had concerns that were similar to these, posing the question, "Can we truly declare that this is a component of the policy?"
Taibbi said that he has not uncovered any evidence to support his claim that Twitter was provided with any kind of warning or notification from the authorities in relation to the New York Post article. piece. According to the communication, the company's response was to "proactively but carefully analyze this through the lens of our hacked materials policy."
According to the files that were shared by Taibbi, the former trust, as well as safety chief Yoel Roth, stated during an internal debate that even though the origin of the laptop files was "unclear" at the time, "given the SEVERE consequences here and lessons of 2016, we're erring on the side of including a notice as well as preventing this content from being amplified." This was in reference to the fact that the origin of the laptop files was unknown at the time. It would seem that Roth was alluding to the various claims of outside interference and the use of hacked documents during the 2016 election, which was won by Donald Trump at the expense of Hillary Clinton, who was the Democratic candidate.
Taibbi has pledged to make other Twitter data available at a later date. Musk promised that there will be an update this coming Saturday. After seizing control of Twitter in Oct, the owner of SpaceX and Tesla dismissed some of the company's senior executives, notably Gadde, and rolled back several of Twitter's earlier actions, notably the decision to permanently ban President Trump's account.
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